“New Year, New You!” – a line that pops up everywhere these days, breaking the holiday magic and shifting our attention to addressing everything we don’t like on ourselves and in our lives. It’s a strong trigger that can easily trap you into a feeling of anxiety, lack of self-confidence and self-love. And I’ve been there…for too long…
Truth be told, nothing will actually change as we turn the calendar and open a new decade. Though it does sound quite epic, doesn’t it?! However, I strongly believe in the power of small rituals.
Our life is a reflection of habits we choose to make day in, day out. What if we would make a conscious decision which habits we would like to let go from our life, and we start slowly embracing rituals that will truly nurture us, crafting a life we dream of. THIS is not an overnight change, but neither does life unfold overnight. It’s a journey – and I don’t feel it like a cliche.
As I was putting down on paper the rituals I want to bring into my life this year, calling it The Year of Self-Love, I couldn’t help but add – slowly sip a cup of golden milk with full awareness. Probably because this deeply nurturing, comforting and soothing drink was the love at first sip when I started studying Ayurveda many years back. How can something so beautiful, so delicious, and so simple, have such a huge impact on my sleep, on my skin and digestion – I wondered.
To ease into the whole ritual of regular consumption, I decided to make a big batch of the spice blend needed to make this delicious drink. Stored in a lovely jar, it became a holiday gift for my loved ones, and for myself – reminding me daily to find a quiet, self-love fostering moment. And this is exactly what I wish for you as well.
Happy New Year! May it be filled with moments of
golden milk ecstasy!
WHAT IS GOLDEN MILK
Golden milk, turmeric milk, or turmeric latte, seems to be a new popular hot drink served in all health-conscious places across the world. Vibrantly yellow coloured from added turmeric, sweet, with a kick of pungency, deeply aromatic and comforting, each sip evokes all of your senses merging in an experience of deep connection to your body.
Haldi ka doodh, or turmeric milk, is a blend of turmeric (haldi) and milk (doodh) with, or without added sweetener. It has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a fantastic (and delicious) remedy for breathing problems, digestive ailments and joint pain. Taken regularly, preferably early in the morning or in the evening, it acts as a rasayana – promoting rejuvenation and slowing down the ageing process.
BENEFITS OF GOLDEN MILK
Main ingredient of the golden milk is turmeric – brightly yellow coloured spice originally from India. Turmeric contains an active ingredient – curcumin – polifenol which has been proven to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, analgesic effects and is a very strong antioxidant1. Curcumin has also been proven to lower the cholesterol levels and inhibit the replication of HIV-12,3.
While the modern world seems to be driven with the idea that “more is more”, gulping down expensive Curcumin capsules of which modern science still doesn’t know the long-term effects on the body, Ayurveda has been using small amount of whole turmeric as food and medicine 5000 years back. Some of the benefits of regular turmeric consumption:
- helps with breathing problems, cough and cold
- immunity booster
- helps to balance the LDL and HDL cholesterol
- supports liver detox
- weight control
- brain tonic
- supports skin regeneration and rejuvenation
- eases premenstrual syndrome
- improves the symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- eases joint pain, stiffness and inflammation
- alleviates chronic headaches and migraines
- relaxes and promotes restful sleep
To enhance the overall health benefits of the golden milk, I personally like to add some extra spices. Because milk tends to be heavy to digest and mucus forming, I would recommend boiling the milk for 5-10 minutes with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and black pepper. Nutmeg, cloves, and star anise will give an additional winter touch to this drink. Black pepper has been proven to enhance absorption of Curcumin for up to 2000%4. All these spices have expansive, drying, warming qualities which greatly improve digestion, especially in Kapha dominated people – individuals who tend to be cold, heavy and prone to mucus formation. During Summer, or whenever you feel hot and irritable (feeling Pitta), use cooling spices such as fennel instead of warming ginger powder.
TRADITIONAL GOLDEN MILK RECIPE
Ayurveda puts a great emphasis on using milk and dairy products on a daily basis. When digested properly, milk promotes tissue growth and repair, promotes emotional balance and it is one of the most important foods to enhance Ojas – the essence of all the tissues, or immunity. For medicine purposes milk is used as anupana – meaning that it can act as a vehicle that carries the healing properties of spices deep into the tissues.
Traditionally, only turmeric, milk and ghee are used to make golden milk. Depending on the constitution and condition of an individual, it can be served with honey or jaggery.
VEGAN GOLDEN MILK
To make this recipe dairy-free, you can easily replace the ghee with coconut oil and use non-dairy milks such as almond or rice (try making sprouted almond milk). It will still taste incredibly delicious! Using non-dairy milks is highly recommended for Kapha people who tend to be prone to obesity, vascular blockages, high triglycerides, fatty liver, PCOD, acne, sinus congestion, etc.
Golden Milk Spice Blend
Makes approximately 90 servings
- 400 g ghee or coconut oil
- 135 g turmeric powder
- 40 g ginger powder
- 20 g cinnamon
- 15 g cardamom
- 12 g black pepper
- 15 g nutmeg
- 15 g cloves
- 15 g star anise
- 20 g fennel
- 15 g saffron
- Skip on ginger powder in the summer
Melt the ghee or coconut oil over low heat. (You can make your own ghee at home). If using whole spices, finely grind each of them separately using a spice or coffee grinder. In a dry bowl mix all the spices together then slowly pour the liquified ghee or coconut oil over. Continue to stir until the whole mixture becomes homogenous. (Take all that gorgeous smell in…deep inhale…smile…). Transfer the blend in a glass jar and place a tight fitting lid on. Mark the date of preparation (the freshness of the spices is most important) and store in a cool and dry place (not in a refrigerator). Use a dry spoon only to scoop out the golden milk blend to avoid spoiling the ghee. Prepared like this, the spice blend will remain fresh for 3 months, but can be used up to 6 months.
* For one serving:
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- half pinch black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- a pinch of each spice: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, star anise. For summer variation use pinch of fennel powder.
Technically 1 pinch equals 1/8 teaspoon. However, a pinch is the amount of powder you can loosely hold between your index finger and your thumb. Because the size of each body is different, your pinch will be different than mine of someone else’s, and will be the right measure for your unique body.
How to Make Golden Milk
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
- 2 cups whole milk (preferably raw), or almond milk
- 2 teaspoons of the “Golden milk spice blend” (recipe above)
- honey, jaggery, rice syrup, or any other sweetener of favour. Use to taste.
Put the milk in a small pot. If using dairy milk, add 1/2 cup of water. If using almond milk, add 1/4 cup of water. Mix in two teaspoons of the “Golden milk spice blend“ or use spice powders and ghee as follows:
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- pinch black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- two pinches of each spice: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, star anise
- 1 teaspoon ghee (substitute with coconut oil if needed)
Bring the mixture slowly to the low boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes. Serve warm with a sweetener of choice. If using honey, make sure the milk has cooled down to drinking temperature before stirring in.
VATA DOSHA (-) Golden milk is very soothing for the vata dosha and can be enjoyed regularly during the Autumn and Winter. It makes a great sleep tonic.
PITTA DOSHA (-) Use the summer variation of the spice blend, replacing ginger powder with fennel seeds and saffron which are more cooling for hot Pitta types.
KAPHA DOSHA (+) Dairy milk provokes the kapha dosha, so opt for almond milk or rice milk if feeling heavy and clogged. Feel free to slightly increase the amount of spices and use only honey as sweetener if needed at all.
- Stoner, G.D. et al. Polyphenols as cancer chemopreventive agents. Journal of cellular Biochemistry. 22:pp169-180; Suppl 1995
- Mazumder, A. et al. Effects of tyrphostins, protein kinase inhibitors, on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 integrase. Biochemistry. 34(46): pp15111-15122; Nov 21, 1995
- Burke, T.R. Jr. et al. Hydroxylated aromatic inhibitors of HIV-1 integrase. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 38(21); pp4171 – 4178; Oct 13, 1995
- Hewlings, Susan J., Kalman, Douglas S. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. Published online 2017